Dear Hillary: I Need a Mail-Order Village
I know what I want this year.
And I'm appealing directly to the First Star on the Right and the laws of Scratch 'N Play Lotto.
For my village.
Because I'm village-less.
My son is being raised WITHOUT A GODDAMN VILLAGE and it is criminal.
There are no federally funded programs to support the village-less. There are no caffeine stamps to get us through the day. There is no St. Vincent de Village-less, bringing a free hour of childcare for the needy.
We are alone.
Without family, either immediate, extended, or even post-holiday belly distended.
We are small-business owners operating exhausting, but fulfilling enterprises that break a few child-labor laws, force us to pony up health and dental for every employee, and pay us in direct deposits of dirty diapers.
We're also paid in love, but that currency is so 1964.
The point is, however, that we create a faux-village using an elaborate system of friends and playgroups and babysitters and school. Mine, for example, includes a jerry-rigged series of pulleys and levers -- specifically, a tower of Lever 2000 soap boxes, a mouse-trap, and a toaster oven.
And it's all fun and games -- Look at you! You're amazing! Who needs a village! -- until someone gets sick. Or you just can't get dinner on the table. Or you're overwhelmed. Or lonely.
And then it collapses in a heap of mucus and fast food containers.
Because the fake village doesn't want to deal with that shit. In fact, the bylaws in the preschool handbook specifically state: "We do not deal with that shit. Especially pink eye. Or Hand, Foot & Mouth. That shit is nasty."
But I recently had a taste of the village -- the TRUE village -- and was reminded of how intoxicating life could be:
"Honey, why don't you go to the gym while we take Chalupa to the park?"
"Shall I make my turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner?"
"Don't you do a thing! I've got the dishes and the laundry!"
Then BAM! The village disappeared in a cloud of Jet Blue fumes, and I was dumped like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka's chocolate river going THIS IS DELICIOUS! I'M SWIMMING IN CHOCOLATE! MORE! I WANT MORE! WAIT WHY AM I BEING SUCKED UP IN A CHUTE AND EJECTED FROM THIS MAGICAL CANDY HEAVEN WHY WHY OH WHY?
But I heard from a guy who knows a girl who did Peace Corps in Thailand whose cousin is a U.S. Customs official that says there's a black market mail-order-village service.
You heard me.
Mail-order village. Like a mail-order bride but forget the bride and order the family.
Word on the street is that the woman playing the part of your mother cooks you dinner at least once a week. Like lasagna and beef stew and food that's warm and took at least an hour to prepare using an oven.
She'll frequently come over for coffee. To make sure you're okay. BECAUSE SHE'S YOUR MOTHER.
And then? She'll watch the kids while you run errands or do nothing. Alone.
Your father-figure will be adept at playing trucks and monsters and taking care of all home-maintenance issues. He'll go grocery shopping because he knows you hate it.
And because he's addicted to Costco.
Don't forget to order several sisters. Set up a rotating childcare system. Gossip and clothes-swapping included.
Throw in a brother for wrestling with the nieces and nephews. He'll take the kids camping. Introduce them to meditational yoga.
Might I recommend a gaggle of aunts and uncles? Specifically a crazy Aunt Bertha and an Uncle Louis with former addiction issues? They spice up the holidays and add character to gatherings.
These are the people who will encourage you to go to a movie with your husband!
Who will provide companionship during the monotonous moments of baby-rearing!
Who will pick up the prescription when you're lying dead by the side of the playground!
They will be your In Case of Emergency number!
Village-less of America, let us stand together and bring the mail-order village out from under the cloak of secrecy!
You shouldn't have to buy a family the way you buy an illegal, knock-off Louis Vitton purse from a sketchy, dank basement in Chinatown!
You should be able to order it from the back of a Marie Claire magazine!
You should be able to order it from 3:00 am infomercials!
You should be able to win it on a game show!
So Oprah? If you're reading? Instead of giving away Chrysler LeBarons and iPads, how about a village?
Do it for the tired (mothers)!
The poor (fathers tired of listening to mothers bitch)!
The huddled masses (of children yearning to play with their cousins)!
To the Nanny, Babysitter & Playgroup Unions: Don't fuck with me on this.
I'm pretty sure someone in my village will know kung-fu.
The Flying Chalupa
Photo Credit: Marc Nozell